Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Food, Inc.

I just had the opportunity to view a screening of Food, Inc. - what a well done documentary! I felt like I had seen it before - if only because Michael Pollan was very much apart of making the movie, and he did such a good job laying out all of the hot issues in The Omnivore's Dilemma. Pollan made Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm come to life in his book, but to pack it all into 1.5-2 hours that can be easily watched on a screen definitely has the potential to reach a lot more people than would bother reading such a heavy book. It didn't matter that I hadn't eaten dinner before watching the movie, because I didn't have an appetite after it anyway; after seeing the awfully unhygienic, graphic descriptions of how meat is made. The meat that you buy in the stores...to actually see footage of the slaughter and the processing that goes on - not to mention the terrible living conditions & corn diet that *ruminant* cows are fed. Come to think of it, it seems quite impossible to eat sustainably by shopping in a supermarket. The aisles of food are really just rows of corn and genetically-modified Monsanto soy re-packaged cleverly to look like thousands of different branded foods, and even the produce comes from all ends of the earth and is laden with pesticides and God knows what else. Oh yeah and by the way, Monsanto has produced herbicides, DDT, and Agent Orange for the US Military operations in Vietnam, which has led to birth defects, as well as various health complications for veterans.

The movie airs June 12, but in the meantime you can watch the trailer. When the movie comes out, go watch it and tell everyone you know to watch it too!

From Food, Inc.: 10 Things You Can Do to Change Our Food System

  1. Drink fewer sodas and other sweetened beverages.

Fact: If you replace one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water), you could lose 25 lbs in a year.

  1. Eat at home instead of eating out.

Fact: Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food made outside the home.

  1. Support the passage of state and local laws to require chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.

Fact: Half of the large chain restaurants do not provide any nutrition information to their customers.

  1. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.

Fact: Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

  1. Meatless Mondays…Go without meat one day a week.

Fact: An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.

  1. Buy organic or sustainable foods with little to no pesticide use.

Fact: According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

  1. Protect family farms, visit your local farmer’s market.

Fact: Farmers markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

  1. Make a point to know where your food comes from – READ LABELS.

Fact: The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

  1. Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.

Fact: Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the United States.

  1. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.

Fact: Poverty among farmworkers is more than double that of all wage and salary employees.


Dr. Susan Rubin said...

How can this film reach more than the eaters who already know the issues behind Food Inc. ??
Perhaps if we started some sort of stealth campaign ( or contest even) to take those friends/ relatives who don't know what they don't know to the movie. And then blog about their insights and what surprised them the most.

Got any other ideas on how to grow this movement beyond the fringe???

Kelly said...

I just updated the page with the "10 things you can do to change the food system," FYI.

I agree that we need to get the word out. That's why I put stuff on this blog and put it on Facebook to tell all my other friends. If we - the people who know about the issues - get the people who don't know about these issues to watch the movie, that's a start. And the contest sounds like a good idea but how would we motivate people to participate?

It's good that the Food, Inc. publicity staff are planning on showing this to Michelle Obama next week, and I think Tom Vilsack saw it a few weeks ago. I know some people in D.C. already saw it, because Marion Nestle said they weren't too happy about the revolving door policy that was brought to light.

Another thing we could do is integrate it into the school curriculum with a systems-based approach. Pamela Koch from Columbia University Teachers' College has developed one called "Farm to Table & Beyond: Making Systems Come Alive" - she just send me the 23-page curriculum on it. Their main website is http://www.tc.edu/cfe/ and she can be contacted at pkoch@tc.edu.

Kelly said...

Just as a follow-up to the curriculum developed by Columbia University, it is available for purchase (& is affordable!) by the National Gardening Association. I added it to my list of nutrition education resources on my blog, but the links are http://www.gardeningwithkids.org/11-3310.html and http://www.gardeningwithkids.org/11-3300.html

Just in case anyone comes across these comments...you don't have to contact Pam Koch.

Emily said...

Thanks for the comment, Kelly. Unfortunately, big sponsor companies hold the $$, and that is why ADA has the funds to do what they do. It's the same way at my school. One of the "big 5" contributes significant funds to our program, which is a huge proponent of growing local foods.